2010: Best of World of Matticus

Every year, we take a moment to look back at the blog and pick out the top World of Matticus posts which generated buzz and discussion. It was a tradition on the blog when I first started writing and I have every intention of continuing it! Some of the more popular posts came from guest posters (to which I am grateful for).

This was another smashing year for the blog as we celebrated our third year of existence. Additional team members were invited aboard to contribute their own insights and perspectives. Even though we may not all share the same opinion, we do share a desire to help others when it comes to healing, raiding and leading.

So who got the nod this year?

Tanks and Healers Should Get the Biggest Rewards

Gordon from We Fly Spitfires launched 2010 with a heavily opinionated piece by stating tanks and healers should get front loaded with gear. Why? Largely because of the perception that those two roles have immense responsibilities. I will say that in today’s Cataclysm game, having gear for tanks or healers is like having more money: You can never have too much of it. The developers have done a much better job when it comes to consolidating gear overall in this expansion.

It Came From the P.U.G.: GearScore Edition

I’ve come to appreciate Lodur’s regular encounters with random dungeon groups. This one stood out because it was around this time that the GearScore addon really took off and players were being graded on their gear more than their skill. One glance at a number is the difference between players trying or not giving you the time of day.

Heroic Entitlement?

Not to be outdone in pickup group adventures, Thespius came around with his own stories. In his case, he had to deal with tanks who felt that just because they were tanks, they were entitled to things however they wanted. No 30 minute Paladin blessings? Fine, hearthing out. Not passing on the bouquet of roses during the Love is in the Air event? See ya! Of course, this isn’t a situation that’s linked exclusively to tanks either. Had a healer once who threatened to drop group and leave if he didn’t one of those holiday hats during the winter event (I was Shadow). I switched specs immediately and toggled on my healing gear and we just 4 manned the rest of the instance while he just sat there. That kid was an embarrassment to healers everywhere.

Why Did You Choose Your Healing Class?

The ever inquisitive Professor Beej posed this question to the readers asking what made select healing classes so appealing to certain players. I chose a Dwarf Priest largely because it was in demand at the time (and I’m so happy I stuck with it because of Archaeology). In any event, I do recall Beej messing around with his Resto Shaman at some point. Now it seems as if he’s migrated to his Priest. We can probably come to the conclusion that Beej is experiencing a mild case of healitus (Or too many healer classes).

Advice on Blogging Safely Without Fear of a Gkick

Blogging can be a dangerous activity. There is a strong chance it might warrant a removal from the guild. As one of the few individuals who’ve blogged as a member of a guild, as an officer of a guild and now leader of a guild, there’s a few things you might want to keep in mind before you go ranting about some Ret Paladin who is making your life miserable by constantly casting Divine Intervention on you every chance they get (Inside joke). The trick is to have some tact when writing. Text can almost always get misconstrued.

10 Reasons People Don’t Heal

You know, healing is an aspect of the game that isn’t liked by a number of players. And it’s completely understandable because there is a ton of stuff going on which just isn’t appealing. Wonder why your heroic queues are taking so long? Well, for one, there isn’t enough tanks. And two, healing is a thankless job. Of course, there’s more to it than that.

Related ID on Blizzard Forums: the Good and the Bad

This past year was not without its consequences either. Lodur voiced his frustrations and opinion. Real ID being enabled on their forums caused a big stir and uproar. It was enough to cause Blizzard to revisit and revise their policies. It demonstrated their willingness to at least listen to their player base. I think Bashiok got a pizza out of it in the end.

Shadowmourne: What do you do with Vanity?

I posted this question to readers when we finished our first Shadowmourne. Turning in the quest came with a variety of vanity items that had their own coolness factor but ultimately did not enhance anything performance-wise for the guild. There were compelling reasons for both selling it on the open market versus handing it out to the guild. After much internal debate, I gave a sell order (and a few items went to guildies at a reduced price). I have no regrets as the money gained helped boostrap Conquest into Cataclysm.

Reserved Loot in Pickup Raids

Poor Thespius and his PuG luck. He ran into the wall that is “Loot Reserved”. The one item he wanted to go after was just off limits to him. Loot reservation isn’t a new concept. It’s been around in previous expansions and is a way of securing a reward for the time and effort by the leaders of the raid. For the guy on the other side of the coin, it isn’t fun at all.

See you all in 2011!

It Came From the PUG: Could you turn that macro off?

Recently, Mike Sacco wrote about how kindness in a PUG pays off. In truth it does, quite a bit. Taking a little time to explain fights, and explain CC and such to new players is always a good idea. After all, we were all noobs once right? Let me give you an example from my recent travels.

I’ve been leveling my hunter now that I’ve started raiding on the Shaman. Lodur is Justice Point capped, and there’s nothing more for him to buy or really do except the daily heroic for Valor Points. I queue for a random dungeon on the hunter with a guildie while I’m questing, and after about 30 minutes, we get Vortex Pinnacle. The tank, the healer and the other DPS are all from different servers. As we start the instance, the tank asks us if we’ve been here before, because he has not. Before we even make the first pull he asks what we can CC in the group, and what marks everyone wants as their own personal CC marker. The healer admits he’s never been here before and asks that we keep him apprised of any surprises before we encounter them.

I’m floored at this point. Weeks of PUGs have left me slightly jaded with tanks careening in ignoring or breaking CC, and just leaving me awful messes to clean up. The communication in this group was absolutely flawless. We walked the paladin healer through the encounters, and the tank’s main was actually a holy pally so he spent some time explaining spells and stats for the healer. It was honestly the most informative, and best communicating group I’d been in to date. Because there were clear lines of communication and education, the run was smooth, having zero wipes, and was truly just enjoyable. My other guildie commented to me at the end of the run that it was the “Best damn group” he had had since Cataclysm’s release.

Now, while being patient and communicating is always a good thing, there comes times you have to draw a line in the ground so to speak. Take for an example a daily heroic I did with Lodur just recently. I was set to heal, and was able to pull three DPS from the guild, but no tank. We queue up in the LDG tool and get Heroic SFK as our instance, and a tank that had very, very low health. To put this into perspective, fully buffed Lodur sports around 115-116k health. This tank, a warrior, had 119k health fully buffed. Now, I honestly gave this guy a chance. I already know he juked the system to be able to queue for heroics, but hey, maybe he’s actually good right?

We set our CC marker out, and shackles go out, stuns hit home, and the tank charges right in and breaks all CC. He promptly dies. We run out, reset, come back in. He hasn’t even released. I res him up, and we politely explain that he needs to not break CC or he will die. He says he understands, but low and behold on the very same pull he charges in and breaks CC. I try one last time to explain to him about CC and he just leaves group. We re-queue and get another tank, this time we get a DK tank with 160k HP. Already looking better, he’s got the requisite tank gear and looks like he should have a handle on what’s going on.

We go in, and make it to the first boss. First boss goes down, and we start making our way to the second boss through the courtyard. The pulls go very well until right before entering the kitchen. The tank decides he’s going to pull the adds on him into the kitchen, aggroing the pack of servant, the cooks and everything in between. Needless to say it’s a wipe. We explain to him he’s got to slow down a little and watch what he pulls giving CC time to go off and healing time to situate. His only reply is to go careening back into the packs. At this point either the person is just very dense, or being an ass on purpose. We kick him from the group and the last one makes it all the way through.

Another good example of how patience pays off also takes place in heroic SFK. Me and a guildie queue up for a random, get SFK and the tank is a warrior, who looks right about where they should be on health and gear. Before we start the pulls the warrior says “Hey I’m a little rusty at tanking so any help will be appreciated.” We start our pulls and everything goes really well. We explain the first and second boss and make our way to the third boss of the instance. Most people hate that boss, it is arguably one of the hardest to manage in all of the heroics right now. There’s just a lot going on. We explain the fight and the mechanics and mark the adds. We explain what to avoid and how to move around it etc. Full run down. First pull winds up in a wipe, tank gets smeared and we release and run back in. Tank asks what went wrong and how he can improve it. We go over what happened and find out he can’t see the desecration. We walk him through enabling projected textures, and pull again. This pull goes way way better, and we get the boss to about half before the adds start running wild. After we recover from the wipe, the tank asks again what he can do to fix the problem. We develop a strategy that has the tank running from door to door picking up adds. After the boss dies on the third attempt, I’m ecstatic, and the tank is ridiculously happy.

Right there, simple communication and patience beat the hardest boss in the zone. So there’s a moral to this story, next time someone is doing something wrong, or maybe doing it in a way that isn’t the ideal way, take a minute or two and try explaining to them calmly and clearly how to do it or offer suggestions to improve the outcomes. Be constructive in your criticism and pay attention to how you say it to them. A little patience and kindness can lead to a smoother run. Now if they wont listen or are just jerks well… there is a kick button for a reason.

As an added bonus, I’ve begun livestreaming my exploits in the LFG system late night, and early on Sundays and Mondays. Check my Twitter for when the streams start, or periodically swing by my Livestream Channel.

Podcast Topic: Cataclysm Healing Class Balance

Each week on Matticast we will be featuring a topic driven by our audience. You can submit your comments on this post, or e-mail us with your thoughts. You can even send us an audio clip (mp3 format please). This is your chance to have your say on what we discuss on World of Matticus. Also don’t forget, if you have general questions you’d like answered on the show, you can send them our way!

This week we are looking for your opinion on class balance amongst healers in Cataclysm. A debate was sparked by Paragon’s Xaar on the EU forums over how useful Druid and Shamans are in high end raiding. What are your thoughts? Are you avoiding taking Druids and Shamans on your raids? Are Paladins and Priests that much better? What healer makeup does your guild prefer to take?

Conclave of Wind

Conclave of Wind

Conquest scored their first 10 man raid boss kill a few weeks ago with the Conclave of Wind. It’s another Council-type encounter that involves multiple bosses. They don’t share health pools or anything. Once a djinn (genie?) goes down, you have a minute to take down the rest of them otherwise the disabled djinn’s will have their health restored to 100%. When engaged, the djinn’s need to have someone within attacking range otherwise players will get hit with a really strong wipe-inducing debuff.

Otherwise, keep reading for an account of each healer’s perspective on their platforms along with a quick breakdown on what actually happens.

Nezir

nezir

Nezir is the Frost djinn. He places Frost patches on the ground which needs to be avoided as the movement slow effect will stack. His Wind Chill deals Frost damage. His Sleet Storm is a Frost DoT. Be wary of Permafrost as it is a conical Frost spell hitting anyone near the target. Wind Chill is the mechanic that forces platform teams to switch as it steadily increases all Frost damage taken by 10% (in other words, it’s a stacking debuff).

His ultimate ability is Sleet Storm. It deals ~30000 damage divided by all targets within 100 yards. Make a note of this effect.

Alette’s point of view

My starting platform was Nezir’s, which is the frost platform of conclave. The damage that the boss deals scales with how many stacks of Wind Chill that the tank and I had. When 5 stacks of Wind Chill is reached, the healing becomes intense. We originally tried switching platforms at about 8 stacks but shifted it down to 5 instead. As a healer, try to always be behind or to the side of him to avoid taking permafrost damage. His ice patches are a nuisance, but I used Hand of Freedom to remove the slow effect. 

Once I reached 3 stacks, I started moving towards the ramp. At stack 5, transition was signalled verbally and the jump was made to Anshal’s platform. 

Pro tip: Don’t forget you can cast instant spells when flying through the air from platform to platform.

Make sure you hit the ramp straight on and not at an angle.

Anshal

anshal

Anshal has an AoE effect which silences any players within it and heals any of his allies. Melee players will have a field day here. Every so often, Ravenous Creepers will appear with the ability to eject Toxic Spores. These Spores will infect players with a stacking toxin. Unfortunately, there’s no direct way to remove it. The Toxin hits for about 500 damage and  it stacks. When the stacks get too high, a switch is called where the players jump over to Nezir and do a bit of damage to him for a while before jumping back. The key here is all about Ad control. Make sure those ads are dead or as weak as possible. Anshal’s ultimate heals all of his allies for 25000 health per second and they deal and extra 15% damage. In the seconds leading up to his Zephyr (his ultimate spell), you’ll want to ensure his little friends are down for the count. Once they are, all the DPS players here need to make the jump to Nezir’s platform immediately.

Ophelie’s point of view

It started like any other fight: Beacon on the tank, Holy Shocking players, and building up Holy Power. Anshal actually doesn’t hit that hard and my concentration started to waver… Then adds spawned and it took every bit of Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn and pounding my fist on the keyboard to make sure our DPS survived. The adds had barely stopped moving (and the dps had barely been healed enough) that my tank suddenly jumped onto the wind tunnel on the side. Being a good loyal healer, I jumped after him, leaving the DPS players to their misery.

I found myself in front of Nezir. I avoided frost patches on the ground the best I could. I secretly thanked the existence of Hand of Freedom, which sped up the delicate process that is reaching the frost boss. By then, the DPS had caught up with me, demanding to be healed again. I pulled out Holy Radiance, Light of Dawn and my fist again before adding Aura Mastery + Resistance Aura to the mix in order to do my best in keeping everyone alive as Nezir cast Sleet Storm. After all the excitement, the DPS left to kill more of Anshal’s flowers and I hung out with my tank and Nezir, until we noticed that we’d each gathered 4-5 stacks of debuffs, making us take more frost damage. Not wanting to mess with that, we jumped back onto the wind tunnel to hang out with Anshal, the flowers and the dps.

Healing the DPS on Anshal’s side was frustrating at times. My AoE heals were able to keep everyone up long enough for me to blast them with some Divine Lights.

It’s a coordination fight, notably coordinating damage dealt to the right boss at the right time, but from a healing perspective, it’s about communicating with your tank and with the other tank-healer team to coordinate jumping. The DPS doesn’t like to be left alone on a platform with no tank and no healer. And occasionally you have to communicate with the team working on Rohash (but they get really edgy late into the fight, so be forewarned).

Get your utility spells right too:

  • Lay on Hands is a wipe saver if your tank decides to jump while you’re mid-cast.
  • In times where your tank and your DPS are fighting for your affection, Hand of Sacrifice lets you keep the tank alive while paying attention to the DPS.
  • Bubble can be used to remove frost debuff stacks, but I found it more helpful in avoiding aggressive flowers.
  • Hand of Protection can rescue a softer DPS from those flowers.
  • Hand of Freedom can help you (or your tank) navigate the Nazir’s frost patches.
  • Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn are fantastic when you’ve got the DPS bunched up in front of you. During alone time with the tank, or to quickly save a DPS, use Word of Glory as your holy power sink.

Rohash

rohash

The big threats to watch out for from Rohash is his Wind Blast. If he faces you while casting it, you better move fast (and note that the wind spout turns in a clockwise direction). Veterans of Serpentshrine Cavern will recognize the ability as one based from the Lurker Below. His ultimate spell is called Hurricane where players on the platform are throw around in the air (akin to Malygos’ Vortex). The only spells which can be cast are instant ones. Otherwise, a tank is not needed. In fact, it is strongly advised that no melee players engage Rohash at all.

Matt’s point of view

Don’t let the other two Paladins fool you. We drew straws. I lost. I got arguably easiest djinn in the instance (which I also found fairly boring).

We took two approaches to Rohash. We tried with both a Mage or a Mage and a Warlock. We were able to progress quite nicely with both ranged DPS on this platform. There were times when our Warlock needed to switch to other platforms for diagnostic checks to ensure everything was being done properly or to help level out the damage. For the most part, Rohash was the key. Once he was down to a certain percentage, everything would come together.

Healing the damage by Rohash is a piece of cake. Heal was enough to slow down any damage dealt before relying on either Flash Heal or Greater Heal to get players back up to full again. I’ll admit I got caught off guard once or twice by the Wind Blast. The trick to avoiding Wind Blast is to pay careful attention to his bars and the direction he is facing. As a Priest, I was able to Body and Soul my way clear fairly quickly. Don’t stand too close to him as he conjures these three mini-cyclones that revolve around him. Their radius is slightly larger than the graphic. Get nailed by one, and you will get knocked back.

During the Hurricane portion, I relied on instant spells to keep myself at a high health pool as much as possible before hitting Levitate so I wouldn’t take fall damage. Yes, Circle of Healing if you have to.

How it works

The majority of the DPS will be between Nezir and Anshal (actually, that might be dependant on your raid composition). Melee players will definitely be working on Anshal and jumping platforms to Nezir as necessary to help mitigate Sleet Storm. Once the ultimate abilities have worn off, DPS players are free to resume their original positions. Our game plan was to concentrate on Rohash and Anshal. Incidental damage and DoTs or AoE would be used to gradually lower Nezir.

As soon as we took Rohash down to about 10%, we checked to ensure Anshal was near death. If he was not close, we held off DPS on Rohash. If Anshal was close to death, we lit up Time Warp and dropped both Anshal and Rohash as quick as possible. The moment the Djinn’s fell, we hightailed it to the central platform where Nezir was waiting. 1 minute was more than enough time to eliminate Nezir with concentrated fire.

We just completely blew them out of the sky.

The Life of a Confused Priest: From Healing to DPS and back!

This is a guest post from my friend Synysta about breaking stereotypes and enjoying the game. -Lodur

My main Synysta is a Priest. She’s been many races and factions, but currently she is a Blood Elf. I think I can see the rotten tomatoes flying in my direction from the Alliance- I must duck! /cast Power Word: Shield

I’ve been playing a Priest for several years now as I rolled her at the beginning of BC and back then I did it just for kicks. The guild I was part of at the time was in desperate need of a healer and as we all know, the Priest is the archetypical healer in World of Warcraft. Was I aware of what I was letting myself in for, or was I aware of how much fun I was going to have? Absolutely not. I was a total newbie in the beginning, I hadn’t got a clue how the game worked and my experience with the universe of Azeroth was limited to Warcraft II and Warcraft III. So in I jumped, feet first and grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns. How hard could playing a Priest be?

I can hear all the Priests laughing as I typed that. As I have found out in my few years of playing the class, there’s a lot more to a Priest than you would imagine on face value. So I rolled the toon, picking Draenei as my initial class and starting as a Level 1 on the island of Azuremist. I did a few quests till level 10, smiting my way through the mobs and casting Renew and Gift of the Naaru on myself. Of course, I never realized how useful the shield could be until around level 65. Dumb? You betcha. I soon discovered dungeon healing and found I actually had a talent for healing the unclean, unwashed masses. The levels flew by and I was soon standing in Borean Tundra, dinging Level 70. Then I discovered ‘The Dark Side’.

Shadow DPS was an absolute riot and a half for me. I found that not only was I a capable Holy Priest but also a capable Shadow Priest. Now, I am aware that this is World of Matticus and I know that this is a Healing blog…but as someone who has played both sides of the coin as a Priest, I just want to say that no one should ever feel pigeonholed to heal- just because you are a Priest. It’s like saying a Warrior should only tank or a Paladin should DPS. It’s the stereotypical choice to go that path, sure…but it isn’t your only choice.

As a Shadow Priest, I was constantly bombarded from all angles about how I should heal and constant pressure was ladled onto me as I fought hard and strong on staying Shadow. Sadly, I was constantly forced to be a healer when Dual Specialization was introduced. From my early days of raiding Naxxramas through to Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel, most of my raid leaders or Guild Leaders were okay with me being a Shadow Priest but the more I held onto my new identity, the more people would try to shove me in the opposite direction. From here I decided to bite the bullet and learn to be a healer again. I leveled as a Holy Priest and had so many years of that I decided it was time for a change. So Discipline was the chosen way of the Light for me.

Having fun with Discipline has been a challenge for me. It took me a very long time for me to master it and then when Cataclysm came along and turned Healing on its head, I found myself struggling and gasping for mana like a fish out of water- flipping and sputtering around on its back. I soon learned that it was because of my gear. In Wrath of the Lich King, Discipline Priests would get mana returns through crit based heals and the use of Power Word: Shield. I never once had to sit to drink or use Shadowfiend, or even Hymn of Hope. I would watch Holy Priests seem to have a lot more issues with it than I ever did. I suppose that I really took it for granted as when Deathwing blew a giant hole in the side of the world…he seemed to blow a giant hole in the side of my mana pool too. Starting off with a 42k mana pool in my 25 man ICC gear, I thought that I was pro. I thought that I could stroll into Blackrock Caverns like the cat that had gotten the big bowl of cream. I soon found out how very wrong I was. Lets just say that panic was definitely the order of the day when 42k mana would vanish in a matter of seconds before my very eyes. It was like Pacman attacking my blue bar, OM NOM NOM NOM. I screamed. I panicked. I thought it was me. So I asked Matticus what to do. He told me to use the Heal spell more. And actually that seemed to work.

As my gear got better, I found that my mana pool doubled in size and with the added intellect and spirit, my mana gains seemed to return to normal and my anxiety levels seemed to drop. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no superstar healer but honestly- practice really does make perfect. I’ve seen Priests get so many changes since the early days of BC and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Sure, I’ve pulled out my hair in clumps and given myself heart palpitations but I really do love the challenge of relearning my character and class.

I recently leveled a Holy Paladin up to 80 too. 85 and healing though? That could well be for another time. Same place, same heart attacks. But as for the Priest? I still love DPS. It’s a nice change for when I can’t be bothered with the PUG’s ;)

Matticast – The Inaugural Episode

Welcome to the first ever episode of The Matticast. This week Matt, Borsk, Kat, and Brian discuss:

  • The Challenges Of Heroic Healing in Cataclysm
  • Preparing Your Guild For The New Tier Of Raiding
  • 10 Versus 25 Man Raid Compositions
  • Listener Topic: Lightwell or LoLWell

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topic, and be sure to checkout and participate in the listener topic every Wednesday.

Subscribe to the show: iTunes | RSS

Play

Accountability Starts at the Top

This is a guest post by Arkom.

If you’re a guild or raid leader, you have certain expectations for your guild or team members. You establish rules and policies, you set up strategies, and you assign people to handle certain jobs. These aren’t hollow gestures and you want people to follow what they’re told to do. I mean, you do all of these things for very specific reasons. And when someone doesn’t follow along in the spirit of things? You hold them accountable for their actions, right? But what does that mean for you? How do you figure into the grand scheme of things, since you are at the top of whichever chain of command? What should you do when you make a mistake? Have you ever really thought about it?

The View from the Top

When you are in a position of leadership, it’s easy to miss things. You end up being responsible for so many things in your guild or your raid team that some of them will naturally slip by. This is unfortunate, but it happens because we are human and we’re dealing with other humans. We are not infallible. But in this sense, we get a broader view of what’s going on. To paint a mental picture, you can imagine you’re on a balcony, looking down at a crowd on the street. You see the group as a whole, moving to and fro, busily doing the things that they do in their day. Things may appear to be normal and perfect on the surface. However, there may be someone in that crowd who just stole someone’s wallet and no one is the wiser because there are too many people and all of them have their own things going on.

The View Looking Up

The people on your raid team or in your guild, however, have precisely the opposite vantage. In their picture, they may all be standing in that crowd on the street, looking up at you on the balcony. That is to say, as a leader, you are under constant scrutiny. Where you may not see the mistakes of an individual in the whole group every single time, you can bet your dear Aunt Mavis that more than one person in that crowd will see the mistakes you make. That’s sometimes an uncomfortable position to be in, but that’s why you get paid the big bucks. It may also be the reason you pop Extra Strength Tylenol like they were candy.

R. E. S. P. E. C. T. Find Out What it Means to Me

Now that I have you feeling like you’re you’re trying to use the bathroom in a house with glass walls, what DO you do when your human side (not the one referenced in the bathroom bit) shows and you make a mistake? Well, that really depends entirely on what you’re comfortable with. What should be obvious, I think, is that the best course to take in this situation is to fess up to falling short. Admit your error, apologize if that’s necessary, and do your best to not have a repeat performance. The tricky part of this scenario is that not everyone is comfortable with these things. To those people I say, “You’re in the wrong position.” One of the greatest tools a leader has at his or her disposal is the ability to honestly account for their failings. If you just glaze over the issue, ignore it completely, or offer up an empty apology to your team or guild, you’ve severely injured your reputation, your credibility, and the respect that those people have for you.

There’s a common notion that leadership is a position of servitude. Perhaps it isn’t correct in its every facet, but it certainly is true that we are, to some degree, beholden to those that we lead. We have a responsibility for them, which we have taken on of our own free (and sometimes I think, insane) will. After all, those who lead but have no followers have often been referred to by such colorful terms as, “crazy,” “eccentric,” and things that Matticus probably wouldn’t like me to put in his blog. So let’s just say that without people to lead, you aren’t a leader at all. When you damage their respect for
you, when you hurt your credibility, when you tarnish your reputation, you give those people a reason to leave. The more reasons you give them – and believe me, these reasons compound faster than you would think – the harder it will be to get others to join and stay in their place. So if you do have problems with saying things like, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake there and I will do my best not to let it happen again,” you should probably work on that or consider a future in playing games like Solitaire.

Over-stating the Obvious

Am I? I wish I was. Oh, by Ghostcrawler’s chitinous shell, I wish that I was. I sometimes find it hard to believe the number of times I’ve found myself in situations where the leadership’s reply never came at all, or if it did it was completely empty (and that’s much, much worse than not saying anything at all) or something about how their mistake wasn’t a mistake at all, because they’re the leadership and what they say goes. It happens. Perhaps you’ve been in a situation like that, from either the side where the leaders were saying it to you, or being part of the leader group that was saying it. If you have ever been subjected to those things, I’m guessing they didn’t endear you to those who were supposed to be leading you. World of Warcraft is a game and it’s something we play to have fun and unwind. That doesn’t seem to add up with the part where you have this whole crazy responsibility thing to worry about, but it’s true regardless. So when you find yourself at one of those points in your life as a leader when you’ve just boned it in front of a group, my advice is to take a moment to consider what you would expect of one of the other people in that situation. Would you want an explanation? Would you want an apology? Would you want to make them cry by bawling them out loudly and publicly and then yell at them more for crying like the More DoTs!!! guy? Well, for all of those but the last option, I suggest you do the same yourself. Apologize. Explain the mistake. But stand up and admit you were wrong. For that last one? Anger management. Seriously.

When you lead a raid or you lead a guild, the people who run with you or who are members of your guild are putting a trust in you to be an example of what you expect in them. You are in a position that allows you to directly influence the experience they have in this game, for better or for worse. That’s a huge responsibility and it should be taken seriously. If you can’t admit when you’re wrong, you aren’t just making things bad for yourself, you’re making things bad for them, too. Remember, it all starts with you and it all ends with you. And let’s face it, when you do have to take the heat, it kinda sucks, but when you know that you’ve played an important part in making other people’s time in World of Warcraft better, more fun, more exciting, and more entertaining? That’s a pretty great feeling. That’s the feeling that makes it all worthwhile.

Healing so far, Lodur’s thoughts

It’s been a while since Cataclysm has been released, and I’ve been hitting heroics, dungeons and now raids as often as I can. So I figured it would be a good time to report on the trends I’m seeing, and how restoration shaman are fitting into the scheme of things.

Tank healing

Tank healing is a new and interesting animal. With everyone’s health totals rising exponentially due to ridiculous stam values on gear, tanks are getting absolutely insane health totals. In Wrath, our main tank could push himself above 100k health. Healers gasped at this and commented on “EZ mode” healing with a health pool that size. Being heroic level geared in Cata, as a healer I’m sporting 106k – 116k depending on the buffs available. Tanks are pushing closer to 200k health. So what does this mean? Well, tanks can take a beating that’s for sure, but the design of the higher health totals means that tank damage is meant to be a lot less spiky, and a lot more predictable. I’m finding my medium, cheap heal is sufficient in most cases to continually cast on the tank, and still be able to keep my mana reserves quite high. When the tank takes his big damage, I can pop a quick expensive heal, or a slow expensive big heal to give me the buffer to switch back to my medium heal.

In most cases I’m finding tank healing has a steep curve to learn, but is a lot easier than it was before once you get used to it thanks to the normalization in damage. This counts normals, heroics and raids. The trick really is just knowing when the damage is coming. Boss mods of course help with that, but I find it much more important to know the fights now than it was in Wrath. I like it honestly, it’s a lot less boring than it was in the previous expansions and I find myself not falling asleep at the keyboard while healing tanks.

Healing the rest of the group

Healing the rest of the group is an interesting shift as well. Not only does everyone have higher health totals, but everyone has a way to stay a live a lot longer without the direct intervention of the healer. True it is important to “not stand in bad”, but on those times someone gets caught they can keep themselves a live a little bit longer. Whether it is a cooldown to avoid damage, a self heal or an ability to GTFO before damage gets too bad, every class has something.

The beautiful thing about this, is that for the most part I can put them on the back burner and actually pay attention to the fights. It provides just enough buffer for me to not have to solely play green bar whack-a-mole. I can safely navigate away from fire and other bad things, and not have to worry about snapping off that last heal that very second on that DPS. Now I’m not saying that you ignore them completely, obviously that would be rather silly. Instead I’m just saying you have breathing room to save your own bacon, or that of the tank, before absolutely turning your attention to the DPS.

In the last few weeks, I’ve learned to rely pretty heavily on passive healing quite a bit where DPS is concerned. For a resto shaman this really means loving that Healing Stream Totem and Healing Rain. Trusting in those two spells to do their job I can usually stay above board on mana longer. I’m hearing this report back from many of the healers from all walks of life.

Spirit is the new MP5, and my new overlord?

Spirit is really catching me as something, at least for shaman, that is proving more important than maximum mana. This may be a design glitch, but in this past weeks raid on Halfus I was the only healer with mana left at the end of the fight and I never stopped healing. I packed about 3k-3.2k spirit with buffs / flasks and made liberal use of Mana Spring Totem, but the results were definitely there. I’m not saying you should move entirely towards spirit, but I saw a lot of healers forsaking spirit entirely, or keeping their levels very low, in order to stack more int to increase mana pools.

It’s true that int gives you more spellpower as well, but it’s all about balance. Conserving mana is important, but making sure you’re getting positive mana returns is also very important. I won’t give you hard numbers here because I think each healing class will wind up with very different sweet spots, but I urge you to play around with your numbers a little.

Working as a team

It has become more important than ever to work with your healing team to achieve healing balance and total victory. In the Halfus Wyrmbreaker fight (10 man version) we were running with a resto druid, holy pally and myself. We put the holy pally on the main tank as his primary focus, I took the off tank, and the druid roll healed. The goal was to cross heal when applicable, but to have a specific section to babysit, so to speak. Very early into the first attempt, the druid went OoM. We talked about it after the attempt before the second try and found he was pretty low on spirit, and pumping everything into int while attempting to HoT the entire raid. We swapped his int stacking for more spirit (flask, food, gem) and then strategized a “healing zone” for the raid. We decided we would create a safe zone to layer healing rains and efflorescence. It went so much better that it was just silly. The healing load balanced (so to speak) the rest of the fight was easy mode.

The rest of the night was the same. We strategized our healing spell choices for each fight and assigned areas of responsibilities for each that overlapped. The three healers really worked to support each other throughout the raid, and it worked out very well. It just illustrated to me how much more important working together is now compared to Wrath. In Wrath it was so easy to just sit by and do your own thing, not really worrying about what the healers are doing, but coordinating now at least in the 10 man raiding environment works out so much better.

I AM HEROIC DAMN IT!

Healer gear seems to be falling from the trees right now. Crated items are fairly easy to obtain, every heroic seems to drop at least a single piece of healer usable loot, and I don’t feel like I’m starved for items to fill slots anymore. All the healers in my guild are saying the same thing, and I find that refreshing. It helps us to be better prepared (and properly geared) for raids than we were in Wrath. The level of difficulty of healing heroics right now I feel is tuned properly, and helps us develop the healing skills with our new changes that we need to have. It’s less about rolling face and mashing one button, and more about really learning what to do. At least for now that is.

I walk into heroics and raids confident that I can accomplish any goal set before me now as well. I seriously do not fear healing anything. It’s not from a position of being overpowered, it’s honestly from knowing that I have all the tools I need at my disposal. It’s a really great feeling to not go into an instance and say “shit, I just don’t have the right tools to heal this.” Color me giddy at that one.

What about your adventure?

So I’m curious as to everyone’s experience in Cataclysm so far. How have things been going for you now? What type of situations have you run into? What lessons have you learned that you can share with others?

Podcast Topic: Lightwell or LoLwell

Each week on Matticast we will be featuring a topic driven by our audience. You can submit your comments on this post, or e-mail us with your thoughts. You can even send us an audio clip (mp3 format please). This is your chance to have your say on what we discuss on World of Matticus. Also don’t forget, if you have general questions you’d like answered on the show, you can send them our way!

This week we are discussing the always polarizing lolwell Lightwell. Has Blizz done enough to make it viable in raiding? Are you using it? If so how are you spec’d and what uses have you found for it. If not, why? Leave us your thoughts and we will share everyone’s thoughts on this week’s pod.

Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes

Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes

Cataclysm has brought a countless amount of changes to the World of Warcraft, it has also brought a few to The World Of Matticus. Along with the redesign of the site, we are also adding some new contributors and a great new format to bring you more great info on Raiding, Guild Management, and of course Healing.

Matticast

Starting this week we will be bringing you Matticast, The Official Companion Podcast of World of Matticus. Every week Brian will direct traffic as Matt, Kat, and Borsk discuss topics brought to us by both writers and readers of WoM. This will include a weekly discussion topic that will give readers of the site an opportunity to voice their opinions via e-mail, comments, and calls. We will also be pulling in comments from posts on the site, so this is a great way to participate in the discussion. Listeners will also have the ability to write in and have their questions and topics discussed on the show. Our hope is this will allow all readers of the site to customize their experience as well have an opportunity to participate.

New Team Members

Along with the addition of the podcast, we also welcome some new members to the WoM team. You will notice new faces contributing on both the podcast and the blog. This should greatly increase the amount of topics we are able to cover here on the site, as well as offer some fresh perspectives.

Borsk

Borsked is the man behind Borsked.com, contributing his experience as a Resto Shaman, GM, and Raid Leader to both Matticast and the blog.

Kat

Kat is behind the curtain at Light and Leafy. She brings her extensive healing experience with all 4 healing classes to both the podcast and the blog.

Oestrus

Oestrus is one third of the blogging team at Divine Aegis and a former resto druid behind The Stories Of O. She will be bringing her expertise to the blog and you may even hear some of her on the Matticast as well.

Brian

The man who makes it all happen. Brian brings his extensive experience as both a podcast host and producer to keep this train on the rails. Having hosted the popular WoW Podcast Raid Warning and experience raiding and guild leading since Vanilla, Brian gets the enviable task of leading this band of misfits.

We are very excited to bring everyone on board, and are looking forward to bringing you more great content.